Editor’s note: Here’s another guest post this week. Enjoy the first part of this 2-parter from guest NOadventurer Nate. You may have noticed some NOadventures don’t take place anywhere near New Orleans. They get thrown in with obviously NOLA-centric ones like Gator Season. Although NOA is about activities in and around New Orleans, the battle cry of this blog has always been “have an adventure wherever you are.” Remember, if you have a NOadventure to share, each writer gets an American Apparel NOadventure tshirt.
My friend Clayton and I just spent the last two weeks in Japan. We split time
between Tokyo and Kyoto, the current capital city and the former. These two cities
could not be more different. Kyoto is a lot like New Orleans, culturally rich, lots of
drunks, late night fun, humid and hot as a thousand suns. Tokyo, on the other hand
is like Manhattan multiplied by Los Angeles inside of a bizarre internet café for
aspiring psychos. We saw a lot of beautiful historic shrines and temples such as the
historic Meiji shrine in Harajuku. Located in a 175 acre park in the center of Tokyo’s
fashion district, this shrine is dedicated to the emperor who brought Japan out of the
dark ages and into the modern age. It was impressive and awe inspiring.
Kyoto is Japan’s oldest city, inhabited by people since 10,000 BC(a really long time even for the Japanese). One of the more impressive temples was the Kiyomizu-dera. Located in the hills surrounding the city, this beautiful temple
is built up on pillars and features a breathtaking view of the city.
Apparently people used to jump off of the 13 meter stage in an attempt to gain good
luck. 85% of people survived this jump. I would say those fools were lucky.
Leading up to this temple, there is an impressive and beautifully morbid graveyard
that looks like the city of Tokyo if you squint(which is hard for us round eyes, but
easy for the Japanese).
At the end of our trip we returned to Tokyo. Two things to note about Tokyo:
1. It is littered with 7-11 convenience stores. Apparently when the US defeated Japan in World War II, the first order of business was to insert a copious amount of 7-11 stores to assert our dominance. The odd thing is that in Japan they are called 7 & i-Holdings. Who knows what was lost in translation here?
2: There are amazing establishments called “cat cafes” these places are exactly what
they sound like; a place where you can pay to pet cats. This was the most Blade Runner
thing about Japan. If you can’t afford a cat, or your apartment is too small, don’t
worry, just head down to your local “cat café” and pet a Calico or Persian.
Of all the strange and fun things we did in Japan, by far the most culturally relevant
and memorable event was our trip to the Shinjuku Robot Museum Restaurant. This
is an adults-only, robot-themed restaurant. Expect dancing girls, a butt-load of LED lights, really shitty food, and of course robots.
Shinjuku is considered Tokyo’sRed-Light district. Littered with hostess cafes and porn shops, it’s a very happening place. You could find these trucks driving around Shinkjuku:
Sorry the photos are a little blurry, there are no drugs in Japan to speak of, so
drinking their very delicious whisky in excess was a daily occurrence. You can see
the backs of two of the “robots” and the truck advertising the “restaurant.” The
truck advertises that the “restaurant” cost 100 million yen(about 1.25 million
dollars) to build. The price of everything is very important to the Japanese. They are
undoubtedly a money-conscious people.
We found the place after much wandering and overuse of my iPhone map
app. At first we were not sure we’d be admitted. There was not a
lot of English spoken there and the iTranslate App can only get you so far. Finally,
after paying 3000 yen(about $38) and virtually begging to get in, they conceded.
I guess that the purpose of this restaurant is for tired and overworked salarymen
and young loving couples to go unwind with a meal and beautiful women dancing.
Sort of like a cabaret show, but in the future with robots and no nudity.
If you have ever been to Medieval Times while tripping on acid inside of a video game
version on Moulin Rouge then you have seen something resembling The Shinjuku
Robot Museum Restaurant.
What made this place a museum is beyond me; maybe
another example of amazing Japanese translation gone awry.
Once we were inside, we sat in the waiting room and were served ginger ale. The
waiting room had a couple of robots that you could pose with and very tacky chairs,
more LED lights than I have ever seen, mirror, mosaic tiles and screens of animation
showing the assembly of the robots.
First performance: busty Japanese girls(implants)
danced, sang, and played drums(both traditional Taiko drums and modern
American drum sets). Oddly enough, the music was kind of good; the women
were very attractive and scantily clad. The girls were happy to pose for pictures
and smiled and waved at us.
The next number was a marching band drum line which felt reminiscent of Mardi
Gras marching bands – except these were hot Japanese cabaret girls and not high
school skids from Kenner.
In between performances, iPads were handed out which featured videos showing
the assembly of the robots. The videos were made using very poor CGI and looked
like a 22 year-old community college After Effects student was attempting to pay off
his student loans.
While I was enjoying the lovely women and all the drumming I looked over at
Clayton and said “I hate to sound like a nerd, but where the fuck are the robots?”
PART 2 WILL BE POSTED NEXT WEEK.